BulletinGold #38
November 2, 2003   Vol 3 #6
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Last week my supervisor at work, Jackie, came back from a week's vacation camping on the beach.  She told us that her granddaughter, Paige, who will be four years old in December, spent a night with her and her husband camping in their fifth wheel.  The little one is her only granddaughter and the "apple of grandma's eye."

Grandma was reading stories to her granddaughter in the bedroom.  Suddenly, Paige looked up at a "picture" of Jesus hanging on the wall and asked, "Grandma, who's that man?"

"Why, Paige, that's Jesus," Jackie explained. Paige thought a minute and said, "Oh, then He grew up?"

You might laugh when you read this, but my first reaction was (open mouth, insert foot!), "Oh Jackie, that's so sad!"  I couldn't believe that a child nearly four years old still thought of Jesus as only a baby.

"She's only three!" Jackie shot back.  "What's she supposed to know at that age?"

Only three, almost four, I thought.  What, indeed, is she supposed to know?  The sad part is that Jackie doesn't know much more than her granddaughter does about the Bible.  My other coworker, who is seventy, thinks she is going to heaven because "my grandson is going into the ministry, and he watches out for me."  How many times I have tried to talk to them about God and the Bible.  Talk about treading
on thin ice!  I can tell by the smirks and looks between them that they don't want to hear it!

I think my coworkers characterize most of the United States and the world-lost and without hope, but too ignorant to know it, and in most cases, too apathetic to care!  My question is how to reach them when they don't want to hear it.  One can't help but be reminded of those to whom Noah preached before the flood and of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's 
time. 

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Panning for more Gold
---- preacher's articles this issue

Send Someone Else
by: A. Jay Kelly


But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Exodus 4:13

This statement comes at the end of Moses' discourse with God at the bush.  He had already given three excuses as to why he could not lead the people of Israel out of bondage, and now the truth has come out. He just plain doesn't want to do it.

Oh, there are other reasons.  He is not eloquent; they possibly won't believe him (given the manner in which he left Egypt, it is entirely possible.)  Also possible is the excuse that the Israelites will not recall their God.  Moses gave all these excuses, and the Lord had an answer for each, but still he did not want to go.

Service to God can be, at times, a most inconvenient thing.  There are many things we would rather do than reach out to the poor or stand for God against our friends. Remember, Moses had been raised in Pharaoh's house and was likely going back to confront someone he knew and with whom he had been friends.

It is also much easier to do that which we are comfortable doing, but God calls us to get out of our comfort zones.  Sometimes God's work involves following and sometimes it involves leading, but it usually involves some measure of discomfort.

God's call to Moses cost him the next 80 years of his life, leading the children of Israel out of bondage and to the Promised Land.  He wasn't perfect, and ultimately he didn't get to live in Canaan.


He did, however, get to the better Promised Land.  I'd say that made it all worthwhile.

A. Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the church of Christ in Colby, Kan.  His e-mail is jkelley@nwkansas.com

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How Dedicated Are You?
by: Todd Clippard

"As the winds from Hurricane Isabel swept over Arlington National Cemetery, the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns were given -  for the first time in history - permission to abandon their posts and seek shelter. `They told us that. But that's not what's going to happen,' said Sgt. Christopher Holmes, standing vigil on overnight duty. `That's never an option for us. It went in one ear and right
out the other.'

Staff Sgt. Alfred Lanier, also on duty Thursday night, said guards might move inside if the storm became truly life-threatening. But he didn't think it was likely. `Once you become a badgeholder, it's like you'll do whatever you have to do to guard the unknowns,' Lanier said. `For one, it's my job. And for two, that's just how much
respect I myself have for the unknowns. That's just something we cherish.'

Holmes said he was willing to risk his life keeping watch over the tomb. `It's just considered to be the greatest honor to go out there and guard,' Holmes said. `It's not only the unknowns. It's a symbol that represents everyone who's fought and died for our country.'"

The men in this story regarded their duty and presence at the Tomb of the Unknowns as an honor and privilege, one for which they will suffer hardship, and even give their lives if necessary! What a challenge to those wearing the name of Christ! Consider the comparisons of these soldiers to soldiers of the cross (2 Tim 2:3):

1) These men hazard their lives to guard the tomb of men who died to protect our country's freedom. Christians are to assemble to proclaim the death of Jesus, who died to free all the world from the bondage of sin (1 John 2:2) and to destroy our mortal enemy (Heb 2:14-15).

2) The bodies of "The Unknowns" are still in the tomb, but the tomb of Jesus is empty (Matt 28:1-8; 1 Cor 15:4, 12-20).

3) The Unknowns died for our protection, but Jesus died and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).

4) "The Unknowns" are just that . . . unknown. But the apostle Paul said, "For I know whom I have believed . . . " (2 Tim 1:12).

5) The work of The Unknowns is complete. The work of Jesus continues as He serves as our Mediator (1 Tim 2:5), our Advocate (1 John 2:1); and our Intercessor (Heb 7:25); and our sympathetic and eternal High Priest (Heb 4:14; 7:24).

The protectors of The Unknowns feel a deep sense of gratitude toward their charge. In do doing, they consider their responsibility with an utmost seriousness. Conversely, could it be said that those who willfully forsake the assembly do so because they are ungrateful? What is the source of their ingratitude? They neither know Him who died for their sins nor consider the sacrifice made on their behalf.
A hurricane couldn't keep these soldiers from their post, but some who claim to be soldiers of the cross absent themselves from the assembly for any and every pitiful excuse under the sun. Can you imagine one of these soldiers missing his post because he had a headache? A little cold or sore throat? He had family visiting? He stayed out too late the night before?

Brethren, being a Christian is serious business! The consequences are eternal! Heaven or hell weighs in the balance! Will you be found faithful (Matt 25:21, 23), or will you be weighed in the balances and found wanting (Dan 5:27)? TC

Todd Clippard preaches for the Burleson Church of Christ at 10655 US HWY 278 in Hamilton, Alabama.  www.burlesonchurchofchrist.com

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Do You Give Thanks?
by: Lawrence Barr

How many countries have an official holiday called "Thanksgiving?"  For all our problems, don't we have a wonderful country?  And all over our nation, and right here in our community, people are sharing with others what they have  I thank God for all of this.

Did you know that "Thanksgiving" is in the Bible?  In 1 Corinthians 10:16, the apostle Paul says, "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?" (NIV).  He was talking of the Lord's Supper, Communion, the Eucharist (which means Thanksgiving).  This simple meal was eaten by the early church of God, wherever they met, every first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-32; 16:1, 2; Revelation 1:10).

Of course its meaning is that Jesus offered his body and his blood as an eternal sacrifice, once for all time and all people, on the cross on that day at Golgotha.  But as the gospel story goes, he did not remain dead in the grave, but arose on the first day of the week. Perhaps that is why the early church met together on the first day
instead of on the Sabbath (Saturday) as the Jews did.  It was a day of victory, the "day pertaining to the Lord (Jesus)" as the word translated "Lord's" in Rev. 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 11:20 literally means.  It was a Supper that is special to the Lord on the day when He became our victorious Lord.

So what about you?  Does that day, that supper, that Lord mean something to you?  Do you give thanks?

Lawrence Barr preaches for the church of Christ in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Does Every Person Have A Right to His Own Belief?
by: Mel Martin

If what we mean by this is, "Does every person have the freedom to choose to be lost and burn in hell," the answer is yes.  Man does have freedom of choice.  But if we mean by this, "Does every person have the right to believe whatever he wants and God not care," the answer is NO.

It is frightening how many times I have heard good loving people who are trying to avert confrontation say, "It doesn't make any difference what you believe."  This kind of statement undermines God's eternal purpose for us.  Though this kind of statement may soothe, appease, and cool down heated discussions about Bible
teachings, it will not cool down the fires of hell after judgment.

It is clear that we all have freedom of choice, but with eternity in mind, and understanding that only God determines the terms of entry into heaven, we cannot choose what we are going to believe in order to get to heaven.

Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln and Tunnell Church of Christ in Santa Maria, California.

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Reality Check
by: Ron Adams
 
 
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:16

If we were to video tape ourselves for a day, would the viewing of that tape be consistent with how we perceived ourselves?  Watching the tape allows us to see ourselves as others and God see us.  In the final analysis, it matters not what we may think of ourselves or what others may think of us; what really matters is how do we appear to God.  The reality is that God sees us the way we actually are, in thought and action.  May we so live that a video of ourselves would portray a life pleasing to God.

"But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord." 1 Corinthians 4:3-4

Ron Adams preaches for the North San Diego Church of Christ in San Diego, California. His email is nsd@san.rr.com .  The best of Thursday's Thoughts are posted at:http://thursdaythought.homestead.com .

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Thoughts of Gold
----From our sisters in Christ

Thanksgiving? Already?
by: Ruth Patterson

Each fall we are rushed from Halloween into Thanksgiving and then are caught up in a whirlwind until after Christmas.  Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Traditionally, we are told that Thanksgiving is a time to contemplate those things we have to be thankful for, and our list is endless.  We spread a table with enough food to feed the masses, we visit with friends and family, we watch football on wide screen TV. We really have it made!

As Christians we should be thankful for Christ and the possibility of salvation, for the privilege we have to worship without government interference, for the convenience of a comfortable building, for the automobile that brings us, for the Bible that we are able to own, and for the friends and family that we are able to worship with.  And the
list goes on.

However, what are we actually thankful for? Not the air conditioner/heater that is never adjusted right, not the preacher that gets long winded while our social calendar is calling us, not for the Bible that we forget to read prior to Sunday school, not the
crying baby that distracts us from our singing. What are we thankful for?

There is a lot wrong with our society.  One hour of TV news confirms that.  (Or a preview to a 30-minute sit-com.)  Our schools aren't educating our children; our society isn't instilling the basics of morality, honesty, and respect. Our politicians are corrupt (but did you vote to change that?)  Yes, there is a lot wrong with our
society, but compared to the rest of the world, where would you rather live?  We have a lot to be thankful for.  The ability to read and the availability of reading material; the ability to work and a paycheck that would seem monumental in other societies; the right to worship.  These three things alone set the United States
apart from the rest of the world.  Shouldn't our faith also set us apart from the world?  What are you doing to show that you are thankful?


Ruth Patterson is the secretary and bulletin editor at the Hinesville Church of Christ, Hinesville, Georgia.

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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.

The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.

God grades on the cross, not on the curve.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.  Can you see Christ in me at all?

Quiet service can sound very loud.

If you go against the grain of God's law, expect splinters.

The last three sayings were gleaned from "Quotes, Quips, Signs" at Ed Thomason's website, www.PreachToday.com (a bonanza for preachers looking for materials!).  Ed preaches for the New Madrid, Missouri Church of Christ and is the webmaster for BulletinGold.

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